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[HanCinema's Film Review] "Super Origin"

2016/08/27 | 541 views | Permalink

Director Back Seung-kee of "Super Virgin", while making that movie, read a lot of magazine articles about the origin of human life and decided he could make a low budget movie about that. I'm not being facetious. This is literally what happens for the first several scenes of "Super Origin". It's like Back Seung-kee knew full well it was a really stupid idea but having managed to receive funding, well, would you pass up the chance to do location shooting in Thailand and Nepal?

I still remain in shock that a movie like "Super Origin" could get location shooting money. After the introduction, the first joke is that most of the characters are wearing ape costumes and pretending to be idiotic monkeys. Even the central human character isn't all that smart because, as he is the first human, he has only just recently gained self-awareness as to the concepts of urination and defecation. How this ties in to the mythology of the gods of the outer cosmos that goes on for one very bizarre sequence is...mostly indecipherable.

That, too, I mean literally. "Super Origin" contains no Korean dialogue. The story is narrated in bizarrely accented English. I watched the Korean version of the film, and found myself wondering whether the international version contained English subtitles. They seem kind of necessary, in that the narration is mostly impossible to understand. Yet at the same time, it's not like anything the guy says makes any sense anyway.

"Super Origin" frequently attempts to drag in every random element and theory Back Seung-kee discovered in his magazine articles for the sake of a crude, stupid joke. Even knowing where everything is going the gaps in his knowledge are pretty obvious. At one point he confuses Christmas with Easter. Although really, the lack of any clear overarching point to "Super Origin" mostly renders any attempt to make the movie comprehensible a waste of time.

Considering how generally negative this review has been so far, it may surprise you to learn that on balance I actually liked "Super Origin". Yes, the movie is pretty dumb. I suspect the script was punched out in a drug-fueled haze the night before shooting started. Yet at the same time, the sheer dedication to this string of incredibly stupid jokes is actually somewhat admirable. Most people would have the sense to stop at some point, yet Back Seung-kee just keeps on going and going.

The movie ends without any kind of serious resolution or plot catharsis- although since the film ended more abruptly than I was expecting, Back Seung-kee never manages to wear out his welcome. This is an important, wise creative choice considering the kind of generally bad movie it is. I groaned rather than laughed at any of the jokes in "Super Origin", although I suppose that in its own way is a sort of weak form of entertainment, so ultimately, I came away from the experience rather oddly satisfied that in this day and age even a guy like Back Seung-kee can make movies.

Review by William Schwartz

"Super Origin" is directed by Back Seung-kee and features Son LeeYong, Kim Bo-ri-I and Back Seung-kee

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